Sunday, October 18, 2009

2009 Detroit Marathon

I've been waiting for this race for a long time. After 4 months and 400 miles of running, dieting, and daydreaming about the finish, the race finally came.
It was a very cold, but sunny and calm morning. We timed our arrival perfectly and basically walked up to the starting corral as the race started so we didn't waste time and energy standing there and didn't freeze either.

As stated earlier, my lifetime marathon goal is to finish in less than 4 hours, and I felt I had a realistic chance this time. Two other marathons I've had the same goal and in both of those I crashed and burned. Over the long training months I daydreamed about sprinting to the finish line with 4 hours on the line. Little did I know that would actually happen...

Derek and I started the race strong with consistent, controlled, and well paced mile split times. We tried not to exert excessive energy while keeping our mile times around 8:50. Overall our plan was to stay sub 9:00 for the first 1/2, sub 9:10 until mile 18, and then hold on for the finish.

Mile 1: 8:41
Mile 2: 8:45
Mile 3: 9:37 (uphill over the bridge)
Mile 4: 8:42 (downhill)
Mile 5: 8:46
Mile 6: 8:51
Mile 7: 8:47
Mile 8: 9:00 (underwater mile, decent uphill)
Mile 9: 8:55
Mile 10: 9:01
Mile 11: 8:52
Mile 12: 8:57 - at this point we both felt OK, but not great. My legs were aching already, and I had to go to the bathroom, but my energy was still good. We got to see our cheerleaders and then pressed on to the 2nd half of the race.

Mile 13: 8:51 - 1st half marathon split was 1:56:40; perfectly to plan
Mile 14: 8:57
Mile 15: 9:00 - from 11 to 15 I felt a bathroom break coming on and was delighted to see 4 portajohns with no line at just the right time. That saved me several minutes potentially.
Mile 16: 10:15 (bathroom break that took 1:15)
Mile 17: 9:08 - At this point I could tell Derek was struggling. I gave him the advice to slow down soon if he felt he was starting to fade. He took the advice and was very glad by the end.
Mile 18: 9:02
Mile 19: 9:09
Mile 20: 9:27 - I felt my legs really dying at this point and allowed myself to slow down. I knew I had banked 3 minutes and running a couple of 10 minute miles would still give me a chance.
Mile 21: 9:49 - At this point I figured I had less than a 10% chance of getting my 4 hours. I would somehow have to hold this speed for 4 more miles and then have enough energy to speed up at the end. My legs felt dead, I really wanted to walk, I felt like I was going to crash in another mile or 2, but I couldn't I pressed on and hoped for the best.
Mile 22: 9:59
Mile 23: 9:56
Mile 24: 9:35 - at the start of this mile I saw my total time was 3:30:30, meaning I had to run about 9:00 min/mi for the last 3.2 miles to make it. This encouraged me and I tried to pick up my pace, but couldn't. I became all too aware that it was all going to come down to the last mile.
Mile 25: 9:46 - the 4 hour pace group passed me during this mile and I couldn't keep up with them. I also realized they started behind me, so I would not only have to catch them in the last mile, I'd have to get way past them. I didn't like my chances, but kept running.
Mile 26: 8:01 - at the start of mile 26 my total time was 3:49:50. I had 10:10 to run 1.2 miles on dead legs and a mentally fried brain. I didn't think I could make it and didn't want to give the effort. What kept me going was the realization that if I didn't somehow pull of 4 hours, I'd have to start all over and try again another year while I was unbelievably close this year. So I said a prayer, put my head down, and started running as hard as I could. My body loosened a little and the pain relaxed just enough to establish a good pace. I saw the 4 hour pace group and started reeling them in. Then I passed them. Then I kept running hard. I saw my cheering section, smiled, gave Erin a high-five, and kept running. I made the last turn and saw the 26 mile sign. I didn't look at my watch. I ran faster.
Final 0.2: 1:34 - I sprinted faster. I didn't let up. I said a little prayer with each breath. And finally I hit the finish line.
I looked at my watch...3:59:23!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I shouted out in joy...and the race official next to me gave me a weird look and asked if I was OK. I wasn't OK, I was better than OK. I DID IT!!

What an amazing race. I couldn't be happier! I am still in shock that I actually achieved my 4 hours, and that I had to run the last mile in 8 minutes to achieve it. Derek was a stud himself. He didn't have as much energy as I predicted, but certainly had the guts and willpower needed for a marathon. After he fell back at mile 17.5 I expected him to slow way down or worse, hit the wall. Instead he kept a decent pace until mile 22 and then dug deep to keep running the final 4 miles. He crossed the finish line in a very impressive 4:07:09.

Marv attempted his 2nd marathon and unfortunately suffered pretty bad knee pain. He still finished with a very solid time of 5:18:15.
So that ends another season of endurance events for me. Will I run another marathon? Probably, but man am I glad I got that monkey off my back. Any future marathons I can run just for "fun."


Blogger Slicy said...

Congrats! That is just heroic man, way to go! Sub 4 hours woohoo!

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Randy - simply amazing. I can't believe your watch time was to the exact second of the chip time. Way to go! Can't wait to hear more about it! Lisa

10:33 AM  

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